Saturday 29 June 2013

I'm with James Bond here......

.....I like my Marinis shaken, not stirred....

Georg Gaenswein, Piero Marini Pictures & Photos
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI giving Archbishop Marini a bit of a shake

I do hope that Laurence England's teaser post is wrong!

Is this the most moving clip of the year?

Watching this clip reinforces my belief in the sanctity of the Extraordinary Form of Mass but, more than that, it makes me realise how privileged are the altar servers, there, standing within a few feet of the Body and Blood of Our Blessed Lord.

Witnessing the most intimate and reverent moments of the Mass, the Host lying helpless on the paten, the priest's fore finger and thumb locked to exclude any chance of dishonouring the Host by touching the Body of Christ with fingers that may have brushed across the altar server's sleeve or the cloth on the altar.

A happy and holy Feast of St Peter and St Paul to all!

My thanks to Fr J for guiding me to the video....

Friday 28 June 2013

My wife is now my husband.....

.....and I am her wife.

We may thank, for this ever so small, tweak of the gender designations, our NBF, the Same Sex "Marriage" bill.

It appears as if our civil servants, bless 'em, are making these changes in preparation for the flood of odd couplings that will be the fruit of this rotten tree.

So, if we follow this move to its logical conclusion we will have letters addressed to 'Mr & Mr' or 'Mrs & Mrs'.

It will probably be a hate crime to actually address a letter to 'Mr & Mrs' as it so excludes those who adopt perverse agendas (and genders).

Of course, we will no longer be able to refer to a male pig as a 'boar' or females as a 'sow' and my faithful Lithuanian Shrew Hound dog, is now a bitch!

The Daily Telegraph reports on the matter as follows:-

"Civil servants have overruled the Oxford English Dictionary and hundreds years of common usage effectively abolishing the traditional meaning of the words for spouses.
The landmark change is contained in the fine print of new official legal guidance drawn up for MPs and peers as the Government’s same-sex marriage bill is debated.
It comes as part of a Government initiative to “clarify” what words will mean when gay marriage becomes law.
But critics described it as the vocabulary of “cloud cuckoo land”.
It follows claims by opponents of the redefinition of marriage that universally understood terms such as father and mother might be simply deleted by bureaucrats on official forms".

What a load of bull!

Thursday 27 June 2013

If Michael Voris is right......

Why doesn't Pope Francis act at once?

My admittedly limited philosophical knowledge tells me that, either Michael Voris is right.....or, he is wrong.

If he is wrong, then, that may well account for the silence from Rome on this matter (and, why not?).

But, if he is right, (and the Holy Father, himself has admitted as much), why doesn't Pope Francis squash those who hold hard to the principle of catamites and all that such beliefs entail?

It's not hard, for goodness sake!

Our Lord booted out those in the Temple who were offering second rate doves and lambs etc., for sacrifice (and re-cycling them around the back to double or triple their profits).

Why does the Holy Father state that he needs to wait for a commission to sit and cogitate on this matter?

Leadership is all about stepping up to the mark and taking control.

Humility is easily assimilated into that; it is not a question of turning the other cheek; morality is the key issue here.

Prevarication is not good; in fact, it is bad.

Just do it, please, Holy Father.

A snapshot in time - Catholic England in the 1950s

Those were the days.

 We were happy in the knowledge that we belonged to a Faith that claimed to be the one true Faith where there was no such thing as liturgical change.

Three siblings in this photograph and, left of the celebrant,
Francis Scholes, future Editor of the Toronto Star

"I can categorically state" said Fr Barry, dipping his hand into a bowl of olives. "That there will never be laymen or women on the sanctuary" (apart from male altar servers, that is).

And we believed him, certain that rubrics and doctrinal truths were just that.

Parish life in Hounslow and nearby Heston seemed pretty idyllic.

In our parish, out of a combined total of circa 1,000 souls, only one couple were divorced; our lives centred around the church.

 Saturdays were church cleaning days for the girls whilst the boys served at either the 8am or 10am Masses and then ran chores for the housekeeper, a dear soul by the name of Miss McInernie.

Sundays offered a choice of Masses 8am, 10.30am and 12 noon (where the Irish navvies would gather at the back of the church in their navy blue Sunday suits, leaving before the Last Gospel because the pub opposite was open).

And, in the afternoon, Sunday School followed by Rosary and Benediction.

Parish notices were read out before the homily and special attention was paid to donations in the collection plate.

Weekly totals of the offerings were announced and special votes of thanks given to the three donors of the ten shilling note (50 pence) and the two donors of the one pound note and the donor of the five pound note (gasps of breath at this stage).
The average weekly wage was less than five pounds so a donation of that size would be today's equivalent of more than five hundred pounds!
There were no ten pound notes then.

The total number of altar servers was in the region of 30 plus and, at Christmas and Easter, the full number would turn out so that, at the sermon, the smaller boys had to sit in serried ranks on the altar steps; what a picture that must have painted.

And, as today, the MC post and that of thurifer, went to the aged ones until a new curate arrived and began training up the eleven year olds.
After a few weeks noses were well and truly put out of joint by a precocious eleven year old MC-ing at the Sunday High Mass.

A great sight was to watch these young boy MCs directing large groups of servers at the inclination of the head or a discreet movement of the hand, far better than their older counterparts who appeared to be as subtle as  Rome policemen directing traffic.

Socially, we had all the usual groups Children of Mary, Legion of Mary, SVP, Knights of St Columba (and Squires), Cubs, Scouts and Guides and St Stephen's Guild.

Every couple of months there would be a parish dance where Catholic girls would meet Catholic boys, inevitably resulting in a Catholic wedding a year or two later.

Young boys began serving on the altar at the age of five and were expected, at the age of seven, to be able to give the Latin responses of the whole Mass without the aid of a missal or a prompt of any kind.

You stood beside Fr Steer in the Presbytery and solemnly worked your way through the Mass.
If successful you were allowed to serve in what we called the "Right" position at Mass. This was the senior position for Low Masses.

The server taking the "Left" position would have done so following a quick consultation process in the sacristy; all others knelt at the side altar steps.

Weddings were always popular amongst the altar boys as you stood a good chance of a small consideration in the form of half a crown (12.5 pennies) for your services.

Requiem Masses were less popular due to the fact that mortuary refrigeration must have been pretty basic then and the custom was to receive the coffin sometimes two days in advance of the Mass.
This meant that the church stank to high heaven by the time the Requiem was held.

It is quite hard to conjure up a list of what was bad about those times.
Liberals would have you believe that we were swamped in a wave of lacy cottas and clerical repression but I would just call it a disciplined way of practising one's Faith.

I can only think of one 'bad' practice and that was the overnight fast before receiving Holy Communion at Mass the next day.

Masses were always punctuated by one or two people fainting as a result and creating noise and disturbance in so doing.

When the three hour fast was brought in, all breathed a sigh of relief and the crashing of bodies in the pews came to a halt.

Change could happen and for the better.

Jimmy who?

I would never like to risk upsetting my American brethren by making unkind remarks regarding their politicians but, in the wake of the peanut farmer's comments concerning Pope JP II, I think it is now open season.

The first peanut to be elected President of the USA

Those comments follow closely on from President Obama and his snide sideways swipe at Catholicism by stating that our Faith schools system is 'divisive'.

I think those are two reasons why I would vote for the  Republican Party, if I was an American citizen (which I would have been if my grandparents steamer passage from the USA had been delayed for a few days) - sorry for the tortuous grammar.

But we all know that this sort of petty nastiness is endemic among non Catholic politicians, of all shades of blue or red and of all nationalities.

Perhaps the final word should come from Lars-Erik Nelson, political columnist:-

“The enemy isn’t conservatism. The enemy isn’t liberalism. The enemy is bulls**t." 

Tuesday 25 June 2013

How to impress your Bishop... five easy moves:-

1. When you greet him kneel and kiss the ring on his hand - do not be put off by him trying to withdraw his hand, it's all part of what is known as 'humility etiquette'.

2. Address him as 'My Lord' (Oh, he will love you for that).
Never ever refer to him as 'Bishop' or use his Christian name in association with the word 'Bishop' as in, 'Hello there Bishop Tom'.

3. Invite him to join in the theological game known as 'Hunt the Tabernacle' (the winning phrase is: 'Why is your chair where the Tabernacle should be?' - by now he will be hysterical!

4. This one is a winner, produce a copy of The Tablet and ask him the question: 'Pope or The Tablet, which do you prefer?' If he responds 'The Tablet' you knock his mitre off and shout 'Mennini' three times. If he is not rolling on the floor convulsed with giggles or something similar then he will have passed out - remember, all 'DNR' notices must be obeyed.

5. Finally, you will win his undying affection if you fumble in your pocket muttering the words: 'Summorum Pontificum' and 'Stable Group' - do not be surprised if, overcome with affection, he grasps you around the neck with both's the new kiss of peace you know!

A little romance?......A little drama?...and a major tragedy

Today is the anniversary of Alfred Noyes, Catholic convert who died in 1958.

Although born in Wolverhampton, the Noyes family moved to Aberystwyth where Alfred's father taught Latin and Greek at the University.

Most people will associate Noyes with the romantic poem, 'The Highwayman', published in 1906 comprising seventeen verses of the sort of prose and subject matter designed to stir the blood of the youth of the time.

The following year Noyes married an American girl called Garnett Daniels, daughter of a US Army Colonel who fought in the Civil War.

The marriage ended tragically with Garnett's premature death in 1926.

Alfred Noyes then married his second wife, Mary Angela Mayne, herself a widow and a Catholic linked to the famous recusant Weld family in 1927.

Within twelve months, Noyes was received into the Church and was influenced greatly by the Catholic Faith in his later writings.

He died on the Isle of Wight and is buried in the Catholic cemetery at Freshwater.

'The Highwayman' is a tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and, ultimately, with the death of Bess, self sacrifice.



THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, 
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, 
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, 
And the highwayman came riding— 
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.


He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin, 
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin; 
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh! 
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle, 
His pistol butts a-twinkle, 
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.


Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard, 
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred; 
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there 
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter, 
Bess, the landlord's daughter, 
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.


And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked 
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked; 
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay, 
But he loved the landlord's daughter, 
The landlord's red-lipped daughter, 
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—


'One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize to-night, 
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light; 
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day, 
Then look for me by moonlight, 
Watch for me by moonlight, 
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.'


He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand, 
But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt like a brand 
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast; 
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight, 
(Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!) 
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.



He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon; 
And out o' the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon, 
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor, 
A red-coat troop came marching— 
King George's men came matching, up to the old inn-door.


They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead, 
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed; 
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side! 
There was death at every window; 
And hell at one dark window; 
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.


They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest; 
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast! 
'Now, keep good watch!' and they kissed her. 
She heard the dead man say— 
Look for me by moonlight; 
Watch for me by moonlight; 
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!


She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good! 
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood! 
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years, 
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight, 
Cold, on the stroke of midnight, 
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!


The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest! 
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast, 
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again; 
For the road lay bare in the moonlight; 
Blank and bare in the moonlight; 
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love's refrain .


Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear; 
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear? 
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill, 
The highwayman came riding, 
Riding, riding! 
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!


Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night! 
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light! 
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath, 
Then her finger moved in the moonlight, 
Her musket shattered the moonlight, 
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.


He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood 
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own red blood! 
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear 
How Bess, the landlord's daughter, 
The landlord's black-eyed daughter, 
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.


Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky, 
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high! 
Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat, 
When they shot him down on the highway, 
Down like a dog on the highway, 
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees, 
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, 
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, 
A highwayman comes riding— 
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.


Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard; 
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred; 
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there 
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter, 
Bess, the landlord's daughter, 
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair. 

Latin Masses banned here

Are we talking of totalitarian Russia, some distant gulag where the sun never shines?

Or, maybe it's Kim Jong-un's North Korea where to even mention the word 'Latin' would result in several life sentences doing hard labour two miles down a mineshaft?

But no, it is neither of those, it is our own dear capital city of Wales, centre of couth and culture.....'cept that you can't have any Latin Masses see?

"Else we'll send Bob the Basher round to sort you nasty little Tridentine swine out..."

Nicandro Porcelli has a report on how a small (but stable group) asked for their rights (Mass in Latin).

Read Nicandro's far too charitable report on being 'Welsh, warm and fuzzy) HERE

Monday 24 June 2013

Just time, if you are quick

The Welsh Government's Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill is due to have its
Stage 3 debate on final amendments on July 2nd.

The closing date for Government amendments is the 21st June but that for amendments from Assembly members is 25th June.

While we do not yet know which amendments may be available on July 2nd,
there are several amendments that those who oppose the principle of deemed
consent may support, in good conscience, because they will ameliorate the
effects of the Bill.

Please email this letter to Suzy Davies AM (before close of play June 25th):

Dear Ms. Davies,
                               The Welsh Government is due to discuss the Stage 3 amendments on July 2nd. I hope that you will be willing to support amendments which may ameliorate this unnecessary Bill.

                          The donation figures published on 11th April 2013 showed that all the other U.K. countries had achieved the target of 50% increase in donation rates set by the U.K. Organ Donation Task Force; only Wales failed miserably, and this in spite of leading the way in earlier years. The
recommendations of the UK ODTF as to how improvement could come about were working well and Wales achieved a 49% increase in 2011/12. This year, the figures slumped to 15.6% although organ donation was widely publicised as a result of the consultations and debates on the Human Transplantation Bill. This is very disappointing when N. Ireland, for example, achieved an increase of over 80%.

                     I noted your speech in the Assembly during the debate at Stage1  and I  note that you were especially concerned that there was no family veto on the face of the Bill. Even Spain, the best country in the world for donor rates, always asks the family and never takes organs without the family’s consent; if Wales wants to follow the example of Spain, it will always ask for the family’s permission. Moreover, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, on the 10th May 2010 told the Observer "We have decided on soft presumed consent, where relatives can veto organ donation, because we want to make it as easy as possible," he said. "At the moment, if people are not carrying donor cards then it is presumed they didn't want to be a donor. If we presume everyone does – unless certain conditions are met–we don't want to be in a position where we are taking organs against the wishes of the family. There  is no question of that."
                         I hope you will remind the First Minister of his promise. Will he keep his word and put this veto on the face of the Bill? Perhaps, Darren Millar, as Shadow Health Minister, will propose this amendment with your support.

                            Yours sincerely,

Here is her email address: 

Sunday 23 June 2013

How to halt The Tablet in one easy move

Close the Tablet - Tabula Delenda Est!

Tyburn Tree has posted on Facebook, with a suggestion  of how to call a halt to The Tablet and its utterances, in particular, criticising Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

As with all good ideas, it has simplicity at its base.

Here is what TT has to say on the matter:-

       "This is just a thought. 
                      Perhaps people who attend Westminster                 
                   Cathedral could be encouraged to desist  
                    from putting money in the collection until  
                  such time as the Tablet is removed (and 
                      write to His Grace to that effect)".

Great idea. But why restrict it to Westminster Cathedral?

Why not withold normal weekly donations to the collection plate?

Always provided, of course, that you attend a parish where The Tablet is on sale.

If the thought of holding back your dues is worrying you, why not just place the money in a safe place pro tem and then pay up once the offending rag has been removed?

 For good.

Seems a sound concept to me.

Nothing focuses the attention of their Lordships better than a reduction in turnover.

So please....desist.....yes, desist......DESIST!

Saturday 22 June 2013

Liturgical dancing was the norm long before Vatican II

In the 14th century, St Beryl formed an order of nuns, known as the Berylians,  who soon became known as 'the leaping nuns' due to their spiritual practice of leaping.

The vintage clip below shows the Mother Superior, circa 1965, being interviewed from their only convent in Britain, in Norwich.


Friday 21 June 2013

Psst! Want a parish training programme with integrity?

Why don't all of our Bishops refer catechist,
parish administrator and deacon training here?

It is only fair when I have been beating Catholic Adult Education in England and Wales about the head, to flag up institutes of excellence (yes, one at least does exist).

The courses offered by the Education Parish Service and St Mary's University (still can't get used to using that word in this context) seem to me to be what we used to call "soft" in their approach to teaching what must be the most specific and precise subject in the world, that of Catholic theology.

I would argue that there are no grey areas in our Faith; it is all plainly there in black and white terms.

God is to be referred to using the words 'Father/He/Him' and women need not feel excluded when we have our blessed mother in the form of Our Lady (please stop them using the brash 'Mary') as the mother of God and the bridge between Earth and Heaven.

Birmingham's Maryvale Institute seems to have it all; a curriculum that sticks to core doctrinal facts rather than going off into woolly subject areas that are pre-occupied with feminist agenda issues and politically correct dogma and a straightforward and clear approach to the subject matter.

The Maryvale website is sound and informative and, at a time when financial pressures are on the Dioceses of England and Wales, it just seems so utterly logical to steer all adult education towards one central institute.

That is the pattern set by secular Further Education over the past ten years for precisely the twin aims of focusing on excellence and economy of scale.

So why don't the Bishops shut down those odd little parish support groups in the back streets of Peckham Rye and similar and focus on a centre of excellence- Maryvale!

Thursday 20 June 2013

But what can a Bishop do?

                       Get rid of the magic wand and pick up the crozier

I hope that, one day, some interested soul will conduct a review of the past fifty years in terms of practical initiatives as introduced by the Bishops of England and Wales.

To catalogue them and to identify those that were successful and those not.

It would not be an arduous task; the list, I suspect, could be written on the back of a penny catechism.

I can recall one outstanding bit of jiggery pokery, the introduction, back in the 1970s of the pernicious secondary school RE programme called "Weaving the Web".

Maybe I am falsely accusing their Lordships, perhaps "Weaving the Web" was slipped on to the agenda while they were at the annual Eccleston Square Golf Tournament or some such other vital function of the post Vatican II era.

But the fact is, they allowed it to rumble on ad nauseum, spreading disaffection wherever it was taught ('Jesus was a Prophet, you know').

How could the Bishops transform their act today to inspire the hearts of the faithful and foster unswerving loyalty (rather than fear) from their priests?

Here is an episcopal shopping list; it's not long. The Bishops would not have to labour from dawn to dusk to implement it.

In fact, they would have to 'do' very little, just act as leaders. That, in itself would be a great start.

1. Jointly review the Catholic Education Service and create a curriculum for Primary and Secondary Schools designed to inspire love and instil knowledge regarding the Catholic Faith.

2. Assess the ration between priests and parishes and carry out a ten year projection regarding human resource provision. Then, act as Pope Emeritus Benedict suggested they should and look to creating a federated parish system so that groups of priests, living together under one roof could provide for clusters of parishes - it's not sufficient to wave banners stating 'Don't close our parish' something has to be done to ensure provision of the Mass and Sacraments, now.

3. Re-evaluate the policy of taking young priests from developing countries and dropping them into a parish in the middle of nowhere, expecting them to shepherd the flock in a manner often quite alien to the sheep themselves.

4. Require all religious under their command to wear clerical dress or a habit at all times in public.

5. Write a 'Catholic Charter' setting out, bullet point fashion, all the key areas concerning religious/political matters eg No Catholic should approve of homosexual acts as they constitute a mortal sin, All Catholics must oppose Government plans for Same Sex "Marriage" etc.

6. Restore reverence within their churches; genuflection, altar rails, centrally placed tabernacles and altars, rather than tables, to come back while Mass crèches and Extraordinary Ministers to go.

7. Issue a directive regarding liturgical practice, no female altar servers, Masses celebrated Ad orientum, no dancing or shenanigans on the sanctuary.

8. The EF Mass to be provided at least once each week at every church (and not at 4.15pm)

9. Legion of Mary, SVP and Pro Life groups to be encouraged in every parish.

10. Establish a new role for the nuns of the Diocese, give them direction and objectives and targets to achieve.

I am sure that you will be able to add to this list but, even if they could only implement these ten points, just think what changes would be wrought.

And still time for a round of golf on Wednesday afternoon!

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Ten things a priest would not do before the Second Vatican Council

The Rolheiser model is out of stock
  1. Wear a moustache….why? It was considered a vanity – still is, actually.

  1. Dance with a woman….parish dances were frequent before the Second Reformation…….no priest worth his salt would ever take to the dance floor.

  1. Commence eating without first saying Grace. In Fatima 6 weeks ago, many priests and their groups were staying in our hotel. Our priest (who holds hard to pre Vatican 2 orthodoxy) was the only one to lead us in saying Grace before (and after) meals.

  1. Refuse a call to administer the Last Rites to the dying.

  1. Not say the Divine Office each day – de rigueur then.

  1. Wear clerical dress to a pub (it was thought then that a priest drinking alcohol in public would give rise to scandal).

  1. Retire…..not absolutely certain on this one; certainly, the parishes were well supplied with priests in their eighties, as well as young curates.

  1. Kiss a woman…I mean in the greeting and farewell sense that has become so much a part of British social normal behaviour. It just was not done prior to the change of Catholic life.

  1. Delegate school chaplaincy to a lay man or woman.

10. Join the local ecumenical council – no point really!

Now please, I beg of you, do not rush to leave a comment stating that you knew a Fr So and So who danced the night away or kissed every woman he was introduced to.

I am sure it happened, but not often - this post is a generalisation.

But all other comments are, as usual, welcome!

Over 800 signatories opposing Muslim Prayer Rooms

                                                                                Photo: Rorate Caeli

Yes, I am pretty much confident that our list of names of those who believe that the provision of Muslim Prayer Rooms in Catholic Schools is nothing short of scandalous would include 'The Otranto 800' (read HERE) were they still on this earth.... well as St James Matamoros.....and quite a few others

Monday 17 June 2013

Nine hours of Eucharistic adoration in Cardiff

At St David's Cathedral, Charles Street on 24th June from 9am to 6pm


Could you not watch one hour with Him?

Which Mass does Jesus Christ want?

I mean, it has got to come down to this, surely?

There are two basic types of Mass in the Roman Church, the Ordinary (OF) and the Extraordinary (EF).

Please do not say at this stage: "But all Masses are the same". They are evidently not.

One is in the vernacular and is missing many of the key elements that Quo Primum stated quite clearly, should be preserved and the other is a reasonable representation of the Mass that gradually evolved over the four or five hundred years after the death of Our Lord - in Latin.

The OF Altar

Some may say that both Masses are the same because the outcome, in the manner of the renewal of the sacrifice of Calvary in an unbloody fashion, and the subsequent changing of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ are identical at both forms of Mass.

But that still leaves the question hanging in mid air; the two are different in format - so which one does Jesus Christ want?

Many would claim that He wants both kinds but that does not wash; let me change the question to: 'Which Mass does Our Lord prefer?' Which one does He believe will benefit us the most?
Which Mass attracts the most grace?

                     The EF Altar                     (Civitas Dei)

My conclusion, which, of course,  I believe to be perfectly logical, is that Our Lord prefers the Mass that is closest to the one that His Church first created; the one that was so greatly influenced by the Apostles who loved and served the Lord.
 The Mass that is the more comprehensive of the two, more demanding of the celebrant (and of the server) and requiring a greater demonstration of reverence and piety from those attending.

The Mass that is not divisive in areas where a variety of tongues are spoken, a Mass that is, as the Faith itself, universal.

A Mass that is basically unchanged since early times and ratified by The Council of Trent in 1535.

A Mass that does not allow for personal liturgical expression by the priest or the laity; a Mass that is easy to follow (if you have a missal) and easy to meditate at if you haven't.

So why is this Extraordinary Form of Mass so ignored by the priests?

I can understand the episcophobic issue, the Bishop might well come down heavily on any priest wishing to introduce the EF Mass.

I can understand, also, the fear of upsetting the liberal parishioners who, quite frankly, have no concept of the matter other than an irrational dislike of the Latin.

But some priests also come up with the corny line: "I just don't speak Latin"

That is a copout. They quite merrily take their holidays overseas and indulge in café French or Italian as the case may be. To learn to read and pronounce Latin is not hard.

As a child, all altar servers in our parish had to be able to give the Mass responses in Latin by the age of seven. Hard at that age but far from impossible.

So, we come back to the question as to which Mass Our Lord wishes us to take part in.

The answer seems plainly clear to me.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Father's Day.....3 books, two robins, a bomb and...a nutjob!

Despite the fact that it's origins are horribly commercial, I suspect most Fathers look forward to receiving a gift of sorts from their offspring.

I was providentially fortunate to receive gifts from all four of my sprogs; they all remembered, DG.

Dealing with them in descending order, I received 'Holloway' from my son (we share a love of the writings of Robert Macfarlane (I know not his fellow authors); and the fact that the book is dedicated to the memory of the late Roger Deakin (he who used to swim in every type of stretch of water in the British Isles; from bogs to lochs and canals to salmon rivers, makes it extra special).

The subject matter is the area of Dorset made famous by Geoffrey Household's novel 'Rogue Male' - the patch of land around the parish of Chideock.

In the novel, Household's hero takes refuge in a Catholic Chapel (Our Lady and the English Martyrs at Chideock) while on the run from Nazi agents who want to do rather unpleasant things to him.

                             A section of the wall from the sacristy in Chideock

He then moves from the Chapel to an old drover's lane, so overgrown with trees and brambles that a natural and very private archway (Holloway) is formed and this is where he holes up. 
This disused track is still there today (if you can find it) and thus the subject matter of the book focuses on track and chapel.

If there were Michelin stars awarded for Churches, the Chapel of Our Lady and the English Martyrs would surpass the normal three.
On the first floor, in the old sacristy, you may make out faded frescoes on the walls; the very same that would have been brightly visible to the martyrs of Chideock: among them being, Fr Thomas Pilchard and his lay companion and convert, William Pike (yes, really). Fr Hugh Green (who was beheaded and his head used as a football by the loutish mob) and Fr Cornelius.

But, I digress. Two iron robins and a jar of Fortnum and Mason nuts formed gift number two.
I have never eaten F & M nuts before but can vouch for the fact that they are so good that one may inhale them. 
The robins, as I write, are perched on my shelf watching every move I make, ready to flit down for a meal of a few iron filings.

The third gift was another book but one comprising photographs from a recent family get together; making a memorable record of a memorable day. One that will now stay as clear in my mind as the day itself.

And, finally, a book on Latin. 
Ho hum you may say but this is 'Latin for Gardeners' and it deals with the origins of plant names proving yet again, as in medicine and zoology, Latin is far from dead and in constant use. 

And the bomb?
Well, this is a seed bomb, more hand grenade really, impregnated with seeds of the blue cornflower.

You just remove the firing pin, John Wayne fashion, and lob into the middle of a flower bed.

The rain and nature does the rest.

My sort of gardening.

But.....has a Father been forgotten? A Father overlooked?

Yes, remember that our priests are, of course, our most important Fathers, and, if you have not bought a gift for your priest, remember him in your prayers.

A prayer for Priests

O Jesus, eternal Priest, keep Thy Priests within the shelter
Of Thy Sacred Heart, where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch
Thy Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with
Thy Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unworldly their hearts, sealed with
the sublime mark of the Priesthood.
Let Thy Holy Love surround them
From the world’s contagion.
Bless their labours with abundant fruit,
And, may the souls to whom they minister,
Be their joy here and their everlasting
Crown forever.

Mary, Queen of Priests, pray for us:
Obtain for us numerous and holy Priests.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Are Latin Masses increasing in number under Pope Francis?

The question is purely rhetorical; I have no evidence to suggest that EF Masses have either increased or decreased under Pope Francis but, I have suspicions.

"Brick by brick" Does that mean more or less?

Those suspicions are based on feedback (so they are strictly anecdotal in evidence terms) from liberal Catholics who gush and spout about how humble the new Holy Father is and how he just hates all that ritual and grandeur (by which they mean the orthodox liturgy) and how he has cut through all that liturgical lace (by which they mean that he has reverted back to the dreary old Novus Ordo format of poncho vestments with modern motifs).

I do not know many liberal priests but, my guess is that they are saying much the same sort of things; most of the bishops will also be singing off the same hymn sheet, no doubt.

There is a sort of air of despondency in some circles and only an occasional straw from Rome for traditionally minded Catholics to clutch at.

But, how goes the fight in England and Wales?

Are Latin Masses still plodding forward, brick by brick in Fr Z fashion or, are they retreating into pre 2007 oblivion?

I do not know if the Latin Mass Society has done the sums on this one as yet but my feeling is that orthodox priests are, once more, on the back foot and that any growth in EF Mass numbers has died the death and may, even be decreasing.

Yet the shouts from the seminaries seem to state the opposite - so what's to worry about, this could be a temporary glitch that will right itself in 5 or 6 years time.


But we all know what happens next, do we not?

A young priest, about to assume control in his first parish, meets with his Bishop for the first time since he was ordained a few weeks previously.

And the Bishop gives him the chat; nothing too direct, just a few menacing words based upon the following:

1. "I would remind you of your obedience to me (forget about Rome Sonny, this is where it all happens")

2. "Remember, you have a good parish in St Apathetic's, please do nothing to upset this calm and offend the parishioners (if you do I can promise you a public humiliation in front of your flock")

3. "Now you are a employee of the Diocese, of course all of your pension rights and retirement plans will be looked after by me and my successors (step out of line by getting all latiney and I'll chop off your superannuation tout suite")

4. "Remember, I want none of this EF Mass nonsense (celebrate just one Mass and I'll have you transferred to the Convent of the Sisters of the Blue Cardigan where you will be on call as chaplain to five major hospitals, 23 nursing homes, the League of Charismatic Nutters and a committee member of the ecumenical group forging links with the local Freemasonry Lodge")

5. Now kneel my son while I give you my blessing (and if you so much as make a move towards kissing my ring you're toast!")

Friday 14 June 2013

A good initiative for the Bishops.....

....and not too challenging.

Father John Abberton on Stella Maris has a brief cri de coeur post on the parlous state of Catholic Education in the west.
He has posted that, along with homosexual factions within the Vatican and a general lack of adherence to Church teaching on homosexuality, the Holy Father should look next to Catholic Education in schools and, I suspect Fr A would also include, parishes.

Of course, if we had Bishops of any calibre, they would have already sorted this problem, it's not rocket science.

But, it occurs to me that there is one move that could be implemented quickly and effectively.

Maybe 'Catholic Doctrinal Studies?'

The Bishops, collectively, could develop a GCSE level course on Catholic Doctrinal Teaching; there is no reason why it should remain at this level, it could also be developed as a National Diploma in time.

Catholic Secondary schools would be directed to include this course as a mandatory part of the curriculum and application made to resolving the restrictions posed by the national curriculum (believe me, there are ways around this obstacle).

This qualification would provide a useful foil to the standard Religious Education examination that focuses on comparative studies.

Now, provided that the syllabus was designed in a manner faithful to Catholic teaching (and not handed over to a bunch of liturgical harpies) this would be a good way of reclaiming lost ground; not the only way by any means, but a good start.

So what are the chances of their Lordships taking up a scheme along these lines?

Hen's teeth, flying pigs and rocking horse dung spring to mind.